Truck driver pleads guilty in animal activist’s death

by The Canadian Press

A truck driver has pleaded guilty to careless driving causing the death of a 65-year-old animal rights activist.

Andrew Blake appeared by video today before an Ontario court and pleaded guilty to the provincial offence. 

Regan Russell was demonstrating outside a pig slaughterhouse west of Toronto on June 19, 2020 when she was run over by a semi-trailer as it pulled into the plant.

Regan Russell
Animal rights activist Regan Russell was killed in an accident during a protest outside Fearman’s Pork. (File photo: Toronto Pig Save)

An agreed statement of facts, read by the Crown prosecutor, said Blake should have been aware Russell was standing near the driveway and eventual path of his truck when he turned into the Fearmans Pork plant. 

Russell’s elderly parents delivered victim impact statements, their voice breaking as they told the court about the devastating loss of a beloved daughter and caregiver. 

Fellow animal rights activists with Toronto Pig Save stood outside the courthouse this morning, holding banners and posters with Russell’s face and name. 

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  • My sincere condolences to the family and everyone who witnessed this horrific act! I do not agree with the charges Andrew Blake the truck driver was charged with! He should have at minimum be charged with manslaughter! He should lose his class 1 license for life as well as his regular driver’s license and be sent to prison for life! I have my class 1 license and not to offend or be graphic in any way as this is not my intention, but you feel small bumps in the road. From what I have read this truck was 55ft long, I have driven trucks 78ft long plus a super b train truck. No excuse for this truck driver not to immediately stop!!! I wish I could have been in court today to show my support and love to Reagan’s family, friends, witnesses. We will never forget Reagan and we will never stop fighting for animal rights!!!

    • If you are stupid enough to tackle a truck, you have to face the consequences! It is like standing on a train track and the train runs you over, is it the engineers fault?

    • I use deliver in Burlington and these protesters were always stepping off of the sidewalk to give water and then drivers had to watch that they didn’t walk in front of their which takes their focus off of their mirrors. This driver did not go out that day to harm or kill anyone so the charge was appropriate given the situation!

    • Wow. Sent to prison for life. I wish I had the moral clarity to be so firm in my judgment of others. In such a tragic situation, especially where there is a loss of life, culpability is rarely clear and this is no different.

  • He should be suing her family and the other protesters for the trauma they caused him. They made a decision that cost her life. Forcing your beliefs on other people comes with a cost.